We are all born mad. Some remain so…

godotVLADIMIR: “All I know is that the hours are long, under these conditions, and constrain us to beguile them with proceedings which –how shall I say– which may at first sight seem reasonable, until they become a habit. You may say it is to prevent our reason from foundering. No doubt. But has it not long been straying in the night without end of the abyssal depths? That’s what I sometimes wonder. You follow my reasoning?”

I’ve been working on a project.

I’m collecting together all the fanzines and newsletters I can find relating to Prefab Sprout, carefully transferring them to PDF format, and the intention is to make a little repository of them here. There may even be a DIY CD Fanzine kit to create facsimiles of the ROLLMO CD-R compilations. It’s a lovely project actually, I’m enjoying myself immensely. I love the idea that these little floating tissue papers of ephemera will be ordered and preserved, a sort of folk history I guess.

Yet when doing it, I’m reading the fanzines, and there is a curious realization: most of them were written in the fairly empty period between Jordan and Andromeda Heights. And whatever enthusiasm drove them at first, eventually it’s dulled and worn down by month after month of nothing new to report beyond: “Paddy is in the studio working on his new album”… The void is filled by lists of favourite songs, interview fragments, fan art, requests for live tapes, discographies, reviews, questions and answers, song lyrics, quizzes… And all the while: “Paddy is in the studio working on his new album”.

Obviously this site is following the same pattern. I’ve got a number of things up my sleeve: recordings, snippets of information, pictures of objects of desire, so there’s plenty of content to come. There’s a full discography, illustrated, to do. I have boundless enthusiasm for doing this just at the moment, it’s a hell of a lot of fun watching traffic build up, making discoveries via the people who come here and contact me. But you’re always faced with the same problem the fanzine authors had: you don’t control the output of your favoured artist. You can no more anticipate when something new will happen than Vladimir and Estragon knew when Godot would turn up, and ultimately all you’re really doing is shuffling a portfolio of yellowing relics, and showing them off to an increasingly disinterested world, who is after all waiting to catch a glimpse of a white-bearded other, not you.

There is somewhere in this some sort of lesson in the futility of activity, but given that the madness repeats from one generation of fan to the next, there must be some sense in it somewhere. Or perhaps not: maybe it just takes time to grow away from the lunacy we start with.

But whatever: Paddy is in the studio working on his new album, and by all accounts it’s very special indeed. And in next month’s “Sproutology” a quiz with an amazing prize… Well? shall we go?

Vladimir: “Was I sleeping, while the others suffered? Am I sleeping now? Tomorrow, when I wake, or think I do, what shall I say of today? That with Estragon my friend, at this place, until the fall of night, I waited for Godot? That Pozzo passed, with his carrier, and that he spoke to us? Probably. But in all that what truth will there be?”


2 thoughts

  1. So very very true. As a fan from 1988, I know that “waiting for Godot” feeling so well. At least now it’s more bearable, thanks to the Internet and how agile and immediate the exchange and contact with other fans has become. In the time of fanzines, being a Sprout fan, specially outside the UK, was quite solitary and frustrating. It is still frustrating when it comes to Paddy, but thanks to fans like yourself,it’s lots more fun. 🙂

  2. I always get the impression that Paddy, as much as i love his work does things in a way that there seems to be no drive to do anything until pushed: (something i think we are all guilty of i guess) but i have this mental image of Paddy just sat at home doing nothing creative, it’s a shame, he’s one of the best songwriters this country has ever produced and he just dosent seem to do that much, maybe less is more? maybe even if he didnt have the health problems he wouldn’t want to be doing Rewind festivals? Keep doing whatever you can for as long as you can do it, i love seeing the rarities in the postbag and the love and care you bring to this site is something to be admired.

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